Archive for June 2011

Gay Girl in Damascus hoaxer is named *

Jun 13th, 2011 | Filed by

He’s Tom MacMaster, a married, 40-year-old American grad student at Edinburgh University.… Read the rest

Australia: Christian Brothers tortured children *

Jun 13th, 2011 | Filed by

Life at Bindoon, run by the Christian Brothers, was a catalogue of cruelty, where beatings and sexual assaults were daily events.… Read the rest

Religious orders say they will co-operate with inquiry *

Jun 13th, 2011 | Filed by

Sisters of Mercy, Charity, and Good Shepherd will co-operate with future inquiries into horrible cruelty. You do the irony.… Read the rest

Ruse offers to help

Jun 12th, 2011 4:02 pm | By

It takes more than one person to argue with Michael Ruse. Jerry has, Russell has, but I still found new stuff that irritates me, so here it is.

…science tells us that Adam and Eve are fictions. That Saint Paul or Uncle Tom Cobley and all thought otherwise is irrelevant. They were wrong. This is not to say that they were stupid or careless. Two thousand years ago, for a Jew to believe in Adam and Eve was perfectly sensible. But time moves on and with it our understanding of the world around us, and old beliefs have to give way to new ones. Aristotle thought that some people were born to be slaves. He was wrong.

Read the rest

Cleaner removes ‘face of Jesus’ from Wiltshire church *

Jun 12th, 2011 | Filed by

Cleaner removes a blob of dripped wax, at least.… Read the rest

Nick Cohen on M F Husain and censorship *

Jun 12th, 2011 | Filed by

India’s founders included in the Indian penal code the crime of “insulting religion” because they believed that censorship could promote national unity.… Read the rest

Archbish reminded that no one voted for him, either *

Jun 12th, 2011 | Filed by

If he doesn’t want elected officials doing things people didn’t vote for, can we assume he’ll be giving up his seat in the House of Lords?… Read the rest

Boston archdiocese cancels “All Are Welcome” mass *

Jun 12th, 2011 | Filed by

Because, of course, all are not welcome. Amen.… Read the rest

Afghanistan’s women can make a difference *

Jun 11th, 2011 | Filed by

The concern of most of the women in this country is that if the coalition pulls out, the gains women have made will be wrenched away.… Read the rest

Quel horrible surprise

Jun 11th, 2011 4:28 pm | By

I just accidentally learned, via a post of Eric’s, that George Pitcher last autumn got a job as public relations flack for the archbishop of Canterbury. I’m amazed. I’m shaken to my core. My Weltanschauung is all anyhow. I have to rethink everything I thought I knew.

One thing I thought I knew was that Rowan Williams is a scholarly, gentlemanly sort of fella, however mistaken about everything. But he can’t be, since he hired or consented to the hiring of a vulgar abusive hack like George Pitcher.

Remember him? Remember him in May of last year, when Evan Harris lost his seat?

A stranger to principle, Harris has coat-tailed some of the most vulnerable and

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Kids who spot bullshit, and adults who get upset *

Jun 11th, 2011 | Filed by

If every school taught the basics – randomised trials, blinding, cohort studies, systematic reviews – it would teach some of the most important ideas in science.… Read the rest

Existential angst about the bigger picture *

Jun 11th, 2011 | Filed by

At every step, there is room for fun results to get through, and for unwelcome results to fall off the radar.… Read the rest

Humanists to Hold Anniversary Conference in Abuja

Jun 11th, 2011 | By Leo Igwe

In September, humanists from across the Federation will  be gathering in Abuja for their national convention. This event, to be held at Vines Hotel Durumi, will be the first of its kind at the nation’s capital. It promises to be the largest gathering of non-religious people in the history of Nigeria. The convention marks the 15th anniversary of the Nigerian Humanist Movment (NHM). Founded in 1996, NHM provides a sense of community to non-religious people who often identify themselves severally as atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics, rationalist or brights. In the last 15 years, NHM has worked to ensure that the voice of non-believers is heard and that the humanist perspective is brought to bear on issues of national importance. NHM … Read the rest

Pakistan: rangers kill a man on camera *

Jun 11th, 2011 | Filed by

“What we are seeing is visual records of the culture of impunity in the Pakistani law enforcement agencies,” said a researcher for Human Rights Watch.… Read the rest

Gay Girl in Damascus blog a hoax? *

Jun 11th, 2011 | Filed by

The photos are all of someone else; some of the details don’t add up; nobody seems to know her.… Read the rest

Homosexuality – a Survival Advantage for Early Man

Jun 10th, 2011 | By John Hayman
John Hayman is a retired pathologist with experience in the diagnosis of diseases associated with HIV infection. He has looked for a reason as to why same sex sexual orientation, with greatly diminished genetic survival prospects for the one individual, should be present with such high frequency in all human populations. ‘Kin selection’ offers an explanation;  survival prospects as a whole are enhanced in those family groups having one or more members with same sex orientation.  



History of Homosexuality


              Homosexuality is not a recent phenomenon; it is recorded in the earliest human writings and is depicted in petroglyphs. It is well documented in the Greek and Roman civilizations, in the cuneiform writings of the earlier societies along the Tigris Read the rest

Identikit MarxoCatholic man

Jun 10th, 2011 4:49 pm | By

Anthony Grayling explains some things about the New College of the Humanities.

The cast of professors is stunning but will they actually spend much time on the new campus? “They won’t give tutorials, but they will be partners, bringing advice and expertise. I want to recreate the experience I had at Oxford. I was very intensively tutored in my college but could also go and hear some amazing and extraordinary lectures.”

That’s what I thought it was about. I thought that because it was one of the many things we talked about over tea a few weeks ago. We talked about the one-on-one tutorial – I from the point of view of one who had never experienced such a thing … Read the rest

Quebec measles outbreak worsens *

Jun 10th, 2011 | Filed by

Quebec’s director of public health is urging people to get vaccinated. Duh.… Read the rest

Johann Hari on Philip Mountbatten at 90 *

Jun 10th, 2011 | Filed by

Monarchists feel the need to claim that the Windsors are somehow more worthy than the rest of us.… Read the rest

Italy: self-portrait of a homophobic politician *

Jun 10th, 2011 | Filed by

“I’ll attend the Gay Pride parade when it’s a civil demonstration and no longer an exuse to jeer at the Holy Father and prance around in fancy costumes.”… Read the rest